Dear Friends and Family,
Happy New Year! I don’t think I’ve written a more overdue update, but even ‘old’ news can be exciting, so please enjoy some news about our busy months of November and December, even as I wish you a happy New year.
It’s been exciting to see the start of collecting materials for the building of a new patient ward at the clinic. We’re praying the government will approve an upgrade to Health Center status for us, and we’re excited to partner with West Lawn United Methodist Church who is sponsoring the new ward and also sending a team out this coming May to help with construction.
The beginning of November saw us welcoming Erin, Radka, and Liz. Liz is our new home school assistant who will be helping Melissa teach during this school year. She’s from Michigan, and she has been such a blessing, and has really fit in well with our family. The kids have all taken to her well and both the boys are very much enjoying homeschooling these days. Liz mainly focuses on teaching Josh, in third grade, and Melissa is the main teacher for Drew, who is in first grade.
November also welcomed Erin, a family practice resident, and Radka, a social worker, both from Canada. They spent the month with us, Erin joining our medical team and doing a rotation with us, and Radka helping out around the station, visiting Bible studies and local homes and even some painting at the clinic. They are friends of our SIL neighbor Amy, and we had a great time with them! One of the highlights of Erin’s rotation was an unexpected chance to help deliver twins at the clinic!! Shortly after they left, we bid farewell to Amy, who’s two year commitment with SIL in Usandawe came to a close at the end of November when she returned to Canada. She left some woman’s Bible studies in place that are continuing to study the Scriptures in their heart language, Kisandawe.
Also on the SIL front, the Hunzikers received the mastered copy of the Luke video in Kisandawe just before Amy left. They had done all the recordings for the parts with local Sandawe folks, sent it off to be dubbed to the video, and then were able to show the video in three villages, giving a lot of people their first chance to hear and see the gospel of Luke in their mother tongue.
On the medical side, we were very busy at the clinic with some serious cases. Besides the twin delivery, we had one week old Barabaig twins who were brought by their mother, but one of the twins died on the way coming to us. The other was close to death from severe dehydration from dysentery. Weighing only 2kg, the Lord gave Kim, Erin and me wisdom as we cared for this tiny one. With antibiotics, fluid re-hydration, and prayer, she made a full recovery. We also had some severe pneumonia cases that required constant oxygen. It was exciting to see the father of a sickle cell patient who required a blood transfusion, give his life to Christ after some of our local pastors shared with him about the Lord. He came from a M@slim background from the Singida area.
The last weekend of November we had another successful Community Health Worker seminar, with lessons on recognizing and referring fistula and cleft lip patients, kerosene poisoning, review of certain difficult cases from the villages, and a question and answer time. They have had a lot of positive feedback from their neighbors who’ve they’ve helped with wound care, removal of thorns and stick foreign bodies, advising pregnant women about pre-natal visits and delivering at a health facility, and more. In some areas they’ve encountered some resistance from government nurses, but in general they are well received. Word is getting around about the seminars, and we’re getting requests from some government workers asking if they can attend as well. I was able to get the book “Where There is No Doctor” in Swahili, and we’ve been using this as our main textbook and all the CHW’s have a copy they can refer to.
In December we had a nice visit with our unit leader and his family, the French’s, for our beginning of term review. Our kids loved playing with and hanging out with their two daughters who were like big sisters to them. For Christmas we headed to Kenya, and had a terrific holiday time with Melissa’s mom, and cousins and aunts and uncle up at Eldama Ravine. Besides the usual carols and cookies, the kids also enjoyed swimming, miniature golf, feeding the cows, a boat ride, tire swings, and flash light tag with cousins; but no snow unfortunately!
This week and next we are enjoying a visit from Larry and Dan Keeport, a father/son team who are long time friends of Jon’s family. Dan is doing pre-medical studies and exploring missions and Larry is a handy-man with a joke or story up every sleeve. He’s been working on various projects around our house that I (Jon) never seem to get around to doing! They’ve been a blast to have around.
Please pray for the new ward project to continue to go well, and for an upcoming health committee meeting where we’ll discuss different nurses who’ve applied for jobs with us. Pray for stamina for Melissa and Liz as they teach. Pray for the rains, they’ve started slowly, and some crops are drying out and desperately need rain to continue to grow.
Thank you for all your support and the blessing you are to us!
Serving Christ with you,
Jon for all of us